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When Life Gives You Lemons, Send A Text

Written by: Greg Gibson, Mobile Strategy Account Executive, Upland Mobile Messaging

In the Food & Beverage world, keeping up with the ever-changing digital landscape can be a daunting task to say the least. Meal kits, click-to-curb, strict dietary needs, personalization, mobile payments, delivery – these are just some of the trends that marketers in the food & beverage industry are having to try and keep up with. It’s for reasons like this that an event such as the Digital Food and Beverage Summit can be so helpful and informative.

Held in Downtown Chicago, the 2018 Digital Food & Beverage Summit provided a forum to enable collaborative discussion on the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities that digital marketing and eCommerce innovators face in today’s increasingly tech-savvy world. Covering topics from creating personalized experiences from acquisition to delivery, to enabling voice capabilities to connect products with shoppers across new, hands-free channels; the Summit was a great opportunity for marketers, agencies and solutions providers alike to get up to speed on where the industry is heading and how they can adapt their (often century-old) brands to keep up and stay relevant.

One of the highlights, expressed by the attending Upland Mobile Messaging team of the summit, was the panel that included the CEO of a startup beverage company called Dirty Lemon. Their business model has prioritized a mobile-first, customer-centric strategy that all starts with a text.

What Is Dirty Lemon?

Dirty Lemon is a line of, “natural elixirs blend cleansing lemon juice, ocean minerals & natural electrolytes (sea salt) with functional ingredients suited to keep you looking and feeling your best.” They have a range of “functional ingredients” (activated charcoal, CBD, collagen, etc.) that are used for daily health along with detoxes / cleanses, and since this is all relatively new in the market, they get quite a few questions about their products – all of which are answered via SMS or phone.

Each bottle of Dirty Lemon has an SMS call to action that simply says, “Text us for more. Do Not follow us on Instagram”

The Upland Mobile Messaging team members in attendance were shocked as they sat through this session, completely unaware that there was an entrepreneur that was about to blow everyone on the room’s mind with the non-shiny workhorse of the mobile world – the humble Text Message.

As the CEO, Zak Normandin, began to talk about his philosophy behind why he went this highly intimate, customer-direct route, his answer was clear – It’s what the customer wants. By enabling the customer to connect directly with the brand and bypass all 3rd parties, they know they are getting the best service, most up-to-date information, and the freshest product possible – all at the right price. This has allowed Dirty Lemon to excel in the health and wellness beverage space – an area that is more than ripe with competition from all the big players.

In addition to the ability to control the customer experience from beginning to end, the “exclusivity” of the text-only ordering has created quite the buzz – just look at some of their Hashtags – #yestomore and #effmakeup for starters. Others in the space have started to take notice, as well.

Articles outlining this “disruptive” new model have popped up in Forbes as well as other notable outlets such as Insider and NBC.

According to the January 2017 article in Forbes, Dirty Lemon’s CEO, Zak Normandin said that, “Dirty Lemon’s customer base has grown to 30,000 customers in the past year, processing 50,000 text messages a month, with millions of dollars transacting through the platform.”

Why does this matter?

The reason Dirty Lemon was founded with this novel distribution strategy was simply because they wanted, “to merge a healthier beverage offering with a novel distribution strategy in a category that is failing to connect with modern consumers,” according to co-founder Sommer Carroll.

This is where other companies and brands that have a more complex or high perceived-risk-factor product can really take note. No, this doesn’t mean that text-to-order as the ONLY sales channel makes sense for every brand. Far from that.

The main takeaway here is that customers increasingly want to interact with brands in the same way they’d interact with their friends, family and peers. Social media has done an amazing job of proving this, but the humble text message (integrated through a company such as Upland Mobile Messaging) should not be overlooked as a viable, revenue-generating channel for the brands and companies that truly want to create a 1:1 relationship with their consumer.

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